In the arena of Smartphones there are many names people know, iPhone and Android are the two most chatted about. Android powered smartphones have been growing by leaps and bounds over the last few years. Recently it was announced that there are over 700,000 Android devices activated every day. With so many choices available with Android phones how do you choose the best phone for you?
I like to think of the different Android phones like cars. You tend to have your base models, performance and your high-end models. The same is somewhat true for Android phones. I like to think of any smartphone running the Android operating system to be your base model. You will see a handful of Android phones with the Droid name. I look at these as your performance phones with features that put them above your average Android powered phone. Then you have the high performance smartphones known as the Nexus brand of phones. These phones are well-known in the Android community as having the newest software and hardware as well as setting new standards in the Smartphone industry. These phones are designed in collaboration between Google and the hardware manufactures to provide the best user experience possible. These are the phones that get the newest software and hardware features available on the market.
The newest member of this class of smartphones is the Galaxy Nexus by Samsung. Although you don’t see a bunch of commercials for the Galaxy Nexus, when this phone was released on Verizon Wireless with an announcement only made the night before the release led to people waiting outside the store the next morning to get this phone. With this being the first Nexus phone to be release on Verizon Wireless saw pretty much all online retailers sell out of stock in the first day of sales. This phone without the need for high price advertising has easily become a hit, with the impressive software and hardware it’s easy to see why.
- 1.2 GHz dual core processor
- 4.65” Super AMOLED 1280×720 HD display
- Record/Play 1080p video @30fps
- Bluetooth v 3.0, WIFI a, b, g, n (2.4GHZ & 5 GHz bands)
- Near Field Communications (NFC)
- Accelerometer, Compass, Gyroscope, Light sensor, Barometer, and Proximity sensor
- 1 GB RAM and 32 GB Internal Memory LTE (HSPA+ is 16GB)
- 1850 mAh Battery LTE (HSPA+ 1750 mAh)
- 135.5mm x 67.94mm x 8.94mm dimension and weights only 135g
Not only does the Galaxy Nexus have impressive specs but style, shape and feel of this phone is just top notch. With many smartphones either they are heavy and bulky or they feel light and cheap. The Galaxy Nexus on the other hand is a solid phone that has the perfect balance of weight and size. The phone doesn’t feel cheap and at the same time it’s not bulky or heavy it just feels right. The texture back provides a nice grip that is somehow feels smooth at the same time. For having a 4.65” display the phone fits easily in your hand and I find it easy to touch any spot on the screen just using the hand I’m holding with unlike some other phones that actually had smaller screens. The Galaxy Nexus on Verizon supports Verizon’s super fast LTE service which gives me faster downloads and upload then I can even get on my cable internet at home. These with other great features make the Samsung Galaxy Nexus on Verizon Wireless the best phone you can buy.
The Galaxy Nexus by Samsung is the first Android phone to be running Android 4.0 also known as Ice Cream Sandwich (ICS). ICS brings some very nice features to the table that improves usability and makes the Android experience even more enjoyable. The first thing you will notice is that there is only a power and volume buttons. There are no physical buttons on the front of the phone; instead with ICS you have buttons that are part of the 4.65” display. These buttons work great since they are only there when you might need them. For example when watching a movie the buttons disappear and the video expands to fill the full screen, a simple touch of the screen brings the buttons right back. Rotating the screen will also cause the buttons to rotate so they are always facing the right way which is a nice little touch.
ICS revamps the App drawer, now you can swipe left and right to scroll through all your apps, with some very nice animation as well. Keep scrolling past your apps and you can see all your widgets. This is a wonderful feature since now you can see all your widgets as they would appear on your desktop. You now have 2 additional features with widgets. One is the stack widget that you will see with things like Google Books and YouTube. You can flip through these widgets as if they are a stack of images. The second is resizable and scrollable widgets. This allows you to take a widget like Gmail for example and resize to the size you want on your screen. You can also scroll through your messages without even having to open your Gmail app.
A new feature to ICS that adds some extra security to your phone, while at the same time providing a cool factor, is Face Unlock. You can now use your front facing camera to unlock your phone with your face. This new feature is just plain cool and actually works much better than I expected. Using this in different lighting conditions seemed to have little effect on Face Unlock. Only when I was in near dark conditions could it not see me but a simple pin you setup with Face Unlock is an easy way into your phone. This has become a fun way to unlock my phone and add that extra level of protection and privacy.
The new browser adds some very nice and useful features 2 of my favorites have been the tabbed browsing and sync to my Chrome bookmarks. I now have all the same bookmarks I use on my desktop synced to my mobile phone. This makes it easier than trying to remember all the different sites and having to add them all back manually. Tabbed browsing is much improved here as well too. You can know see a small preview of each web page you have open and a flick of the page to the left or right will close it.
Multitasking on the Galaxy Nexus has been improved with the new recent apps button. This shows you a preview of all the apps you have used recently with the ability to jump back and forth between 2 or more apps easily. Just like the browser any app can be taken off the list with a simple flick to the left or right. I have found this to be a very useful feature since I can start an email, jump to a website and back to the email several times if needed very easily. I also find myself doing this with text messages quite a bit.
The camera on the Galaxy Nexus is by far the best camera I have used on a phone. The main camera is a 5 megapixel with 1080p video recording. The front is a 1.3 megapixel camera with 720p video recording. I have found the camera to be quick enough to take pictures as fast as I can press the button. It’s really amazing to be able to just click away on the camera and not worry about waiting between pictures. Everyone I have shown have been blown away by how fast this camera is and how well it does at taking pictures. ICS has added some very nice photo editing features along with Movie Studio to edit movies directly on your phone. The video camera also has several very fun live effects such as big eyes, big nose, tiny eyes, big mouth and even the ability to change the background to a couple preloaded ones or a custom one from your gallery. These are fun to play with and definitely add a great way for family and friends to have some laughs.
The Super AMLOED HD display on this phone is just amazing. The Samsung Galaxy Nexus has the most beautiful display I have ever seen on a phone. Colors are rich without be washed out or over exposed. This phone is also easy to use in the sunlight. Many smartphones become impossible to see when in direct sunlight but with the Samsung Galaxy Nexus I am no longer looking for shade just to use my smartphone outside. The 4.65” HD display shows unbelievable detail when watching high definition movies. At close to 320 pixels per inch you reach the point where your eye can’t see individual pixels; this gives you a sharp and clear looking image. The slight curve to the display provides no distortion to images but gives a great feel when talking on the phone or just holding it in your hand.
Stay tuned for part 2 in a few days along with some hands on video and even more features.
Disclosure: I receive sample(s) for purpose of testing and review. My opinions are my own and may differ from those of your own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.” Please view our disclosure policy if you have any questions.